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Leaving 2013 Behind

I’m sure that Fantasy Football Owners who drafted New York Giant players last season would rather not be reminded of the fantasy futility that plagued Big Blue’s disastrous 2013 campaign.

The horror of the Giants' six game losing streak to start the season carried over to fantasy football lineups as perennial early round fantasy standouts like Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks suffered through sub-par seasons. Many predicted that 2013 would be running back David Wilson’s breakout year and essentially wasted an early round pick and watched as he continued to have problems holding onto the football. His season ended prematurely as he fell victim to a neck injury severe enough, that the Giants feel that whatever he can contribute in 2014 should be considered a bonus.

The Giants will be faced with some major changes this season. Longtime offensive coordinator Kevin Gillbride’s run with the Giants is over and he has been replaced by Ben McAdoo, the longtime tight end and quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers. McAdoo has never called an offensive play in his professional career and will attempt to jump start the Giants fledgling 2013 offense by introducing the famed West Coast offensive scheme. The Giants success on offense this season will depend on how well veteran QB Eli Manning adapts to McAdoo’s new system. It will also depend on how well the Giants’ revamped offensive line can protect Manning as well as how much time he will have to get rid of the ball. The Giants will also have to do a better job of developing a consistent running attack. The Giants running game may be manned by a three headed monster consisting of David Wilson, Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, which is not very good news for Fantasy Football Owners.

Defensively the Giant corner core is vastly improved and they hope that a fully recovered Jason Pierre-Paul can anchor a revamped Giant defensive line that will revitalize Big Blue’s pass rush.


New York Giants Offseason Acquisitions

Coaching Changes: Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo

Offseason Acquisitions: RB Rashad Jennings, RB Andre Williams, WR Odell Beckham, Jr., WR Mario Manningham

No Longer on the Roster: WR Hakeem Nicks, RB Andre Brown, DE Justin Tuck


New York Giants Quarterbacks

Eli Manning 

"Eli Manning Giants QB" by Taken by Alexa (Flickr profile), cropped and touched up by CPacker - Original webpage:[1] Website publisher: Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - suffering through one of the toughest seasons of his career in which he completed 27 passes to the opposing team, Giant fans and Fantasy Football Managers are wondering if Eli Manning can rebound and regain the form that made him a serviceable middle of the draft fantasy quarterback. At 33 years of age this “old” dog will have to learn some new tricks as new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo teaches Manning and his core receivers the intricacies behind the West Coast offense. On June 9th, the two time Super Bowl MVP, proclaimed that he was fully healed from the April 10th arthroscopic surgery that was performed on his left ankle but admitted that he “was not 100% comfortable with everything going on” with McAdoo’s new offensive scheme. Manning should have a better supporting cast this season as the offensive line that gave up 39 sacks last season has been vastly retooled, and he will have the opportunity to develop a rapport with his entire core of wide receivers, who all will be present when camp opens on July 21st. To successfully run the West Coast offense Manning will need to improve his footwork and perfect his three step drop from behind center. He is going to have to become a more accurate passer and be able to make quick decisions. The new offense will call for receivers to run shorter routes forcing Manning to get rid of the ball quicker. If the Giants can improve their running game as well as their offensive line, Manning be forced to make the bad passes that caused him to throw so many interceptions last season. Manning has never been a top tier fantasy quarterback but with all the question marks surrounding the Giants’ new offense this season it will probably be best if you waited until real late in your draft before you pick him up. Consider Manning a backup quarterback in deep fantasy leagues but if he and his receivers embrace the new West Coast offense it could add new life to his career and make him a viable sleeper QB candidate.


New York Giants Wide Receivers

Victor Cruz

Fantasy Football Owners had big expectations for Victor Cruz last season. On average last season Cruz was the 11th wide receiver drafted and he was off of the overall draft board by the fourth round. Unfortunately, he reported to camp late due to a contract dispute and that, coupled with the overall problems that plagued the Giant offense, caused Cruz to suffer through a disappointing season in which he caught just four TD passes and three of those came in the first week of the season. His season ended early due to a knee injury that required surgery last December but he seems to be fully healed. Traditionally Cruz is considered more of a slot receiver and that will continue, but with McAdoo’s new offense he could potentially lineup anywhere on the field and may, although it is unlikely, take an occasional handoff. Victor Cruz may not be considered a top fantasy wide receiver entering the 2014 season but if Manning can flourish under the new Giant offense, and if the offensive line can improve their level of play compared to last year, and if Cruz can cure his case of “the drops” which plagued him last year, he can certainly be a top notch fantasy wide receiver. Those are a lot of “ifs” to consider but Cruz’s upside potential is enormous. Expect Cruz to start coming off of the draft board in the fourth or fifth round again this season.


Rueben Randle

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-rueben-randleRueben Randle will step into the starting role vacated by Hakeem Nicks’ departure to the Indianapolis Colts. He has looked good in OTAs, even catching a relatively short pass from Manning and taking it 70 yards down the line for a touchdown, something that he is going to need to do on a regular basis if the West Coast offense is going to work. There is a lot of upside to Randle this year and he should benefit from the Giants new and somewhat simpler offensive scheme. Look for him to improve upon his 41 catches and six touchdowns from last season. He should be available in the later rounds (10+) of your draft. He definitely has sleeper potential.


Odell Beckham, Jr.

The Giants are anxious to see what their first round investment, Odell Beckham, Jr. is capable of but will have to wait since he spent much of the team’s mini-camp nursing a slight hamstring injury that left him only running at 85% of his full capacity. When fully healthy the Giants expect Beckham to infuse their offense with electricity by utilizing his 4.4 speed as he lines up on the outside and gives Eli Manning a formidable deep target. First year wide receivers rarely make much of a fantasy impact but this kid has got some great tools. Monitor his progress this summer and consider him a late round pick up.


Jerrel Jernigan

Jerrel Jernigan showed up to Giant mini-camp with a brand new attitude. He is exuding confidence and showed up to camp “with a lot of swagger and stuff.” Jernigan seemed to awaken during the Giants’ last three games of the 2013 season. After catching just 13 receptions for 114 yards and zero touchdowns in the first 29 games of his career Jernigan posted 19 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns in the final three games of last season. With the Giants drafting Beckham this past offseason, Jernigan will have to fight for playing time this season but the Giants are hoping that the production they got out of him late last season was a bit of foreshadowing of what is still yet to come this season. Watch Jernigan’s progress during training camp. He could emerge as one of your mid season waiver wire pickups.


Mario Manningham

Mario Manningham will always hold a special place in the heart of Giants fans who remember his acrobatic over the shoulder catch that helped set up the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI. After two rather unproductive injury plagued seasons with the 49ers, Manningham is back with the Giants hoping that he and QB Eli Manning can recapture some of that old magic. Manningham had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in January and hopes to be cleared to practice in time for training camp. Manningham’s health will be a concern and he will have a lot of competition to find a role with this team but his familiarity with Manning should help him in that regard. Manningham may have just enough left in the tank to remind Giant fans of his days as “Super Mario”. Look to him as a possible mid season waiver wire pick up.


Trindon Holliday

It is going to be interesting to see how the Giants utilize dynamic wide receiver and punt and kickoff returner Trindon Holliday. At 5’5” he is the shortest player in the NFL but his ability to dart in and out and hide behind people while running with the ball, makes him super valuable. He has incredible speed and kind of reminds you of former Giant and Jet Dave Megget. Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo plans on using him as a slot receiver and looks forward to using Holliday’s special type of skill set – basically his dynamic speed, as well as his ability to put the moves on defenders, to the Giant’s advantage. I wouldn’t recommend drafting him but he should be on your radar. Keep an eye on how the Giants use him as the season develops.


New York Giants Running Backs 

David Wilson

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-david-wilsonFantasy Football Owners had high hopes for David Wilson in last season’s draft, making him an early round pick in almost every league. Unfortunately Wilson never had the breakout season that was expected as fumbling problems quickly put a damper on all of that optimism. His season was cut short due to a neck injury that eventually required a vertebrae fusion that was performed on January 16th. He has continued his rehab regimen and although a CT scan in early June showed that he had made progress, the procedure usually takes a full six months to heal. Wilson looked like he was running well on his drills and is on target with his recovery. The Giants are hopeful that he will receive medical clearance on July 21, the day that players report for training camp.


Rashad Jennings

Rashad Jennings is the typical type of back that Giant head coach Tom Coughlin loves. He’s versatile, having averaged 4.5 yards per carry last year for the Raiders after replacing Darren McFadden and becoming the primary back. He also caught 36 balls out of the backfield a skill that is highly prized in a West Coast offense. Most importantly is Jennings’ ability to hold onto the ball. Nothing irks Coach Coughlin more than a running back who fumbles the ball, just ask David Wilson. Jennings is expected to share carries with Wilson however if he is not fully recovered from his offseason surgery expect the Giants to lean on him and make him their primary back. The fact that Jennings is 29 years old is somewhat of a concern however since he has been a backup for most of his career he has less mileage than the typical 29 year old back has. Expect him to be drafted in the fourth or fifth round of your league’s draft.


Andre Williams

Another running back built from the Tom Coughlin mold, Andre Williams was the Giants’ fourth round pick and has the ability create some noise out of Big Blue’s backfield. He ran for over 2000 yards for Boston College last season and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. He is a speedy but powerful downhill runner who has the ability to run through people. He also possesses extraordinary pass blocking skills that doesn’t help a fantasy owner but could earn him more time on the field. He should steal some short yardage and goal line carries and is worth watching this preseason. He has sleeper written all over him.


Peyton Hillis

Former running back standout Peyton Hills is struggling to hang on in the NFL. He is not considered much of a fantasy impact player anymore and may steal some short yardage and goal line carries from Jennings and/or Wilson. It is unlikely that he will be drafted and should be considered a mid season waiver wire addition at best.


New York Giants Tight Ends

Adrien Robinson

This season third year tight end Adrien Robinson might finally get a chance to catch his first pass. Robinson is deceptively quick, has great footwork and also has great vertical reach. It seems that the key to Robinson having a successful season is keeping him healthy which has been a concern over the years. He came into mini-camp in tremendous shape and he needs to be at the top of his game because although he has gotten a number of reps with the first unit during OTAs, no player has emerged as the favorite to becoming the Giant starting tight end.

Prior to being the Packer quarterbacks coach, McAdoo spent six years as the Packer tight ends coach so he knows how to get the most out of the tight end position and he will definitely have his work cut out for him. Other than Robinson the other contenders for the job are Xavier Grimble, Larry Donnell, and veterans Kellen Davis and Daniel Fells. This is a wide open competition and there doesn’t seem to be any early season fantasy value from any of the five players vying for the Giant tight end starting job.


New York Giants Defense

The Giants are hoping that Jason Pierre-Paul can return to the form that regularly left opposing quarterbacks on their backs or on the ground in the fetal position, protecting the football and their bodies for dear life. Pierre-Paul pronounced himself fully healthy at Giants mini-camp and told the New York Post “a lot of people were doubting me but I’m back now to the point I need to be, and I’m very happy.” If he’s happy, opposing QB’s will definitely not be.

In addition the Giants have a deep group of corners as well as a secondary that should be one of the best in the league.


What can we expect from the Giants in 2014

The Giants never had too many flashy fantasy football players and with the introduction of the new West Coast offense scheme this could be a transition year…or the new offense can jumpstart Eli Manning’s career and do what it did for Rich Gannon years ago, and that is turn him into a fantasy stud.

The best fantasy player on this Giant team remains Victor Cruz but don’t be too surprised if Rueben Randle doesn’t have a breakout year as Hakeem Nicks’ replacement. Rookie Odell Beckham, Jr. has some real talent but it might take him a little time to become fantasy relevant.

As far as the Giant rushing attack I am not real optimistic that David Wilson will be able to contribute much this season and it’s possible that Rashad Jennings could take advantage of his first real shot at being a primary back and put together a season where he rushes for 1000 yards. If Andre Williams is able to develop some pass catching skills he could turn into a force to be reckoned with coming out of the Giants backfield.

At this point there is no real fantasy value coming out of the Giant tight end position but you may want to keep an eye on Adrien Robinson as a possible waiver wire replacement player down the road.

The Giant defense has definitely improved and might be worth picking up in the very late rounds of your draft.